Thursday, March 29, 2012

Keep The Faith

I come from a background of church-goers. Being of the Catholic faith, every Sunday morning (or sometimes Saturday night, much to my chagrin as a teen) my whole family would go to church. I can’t say that I have fond memories of being in church as a kid (although that one time I farted and it echoed through the whole place was pretty hilarious). I saw it almost as a punishment. A long, drawn-out, boring punishment. As an adult, I swore off church and for a while even felt resentful towards it and mocked those that attended.

Even up until recently, I have had a hard time understanding why people go to church. To subject themselves to something so unpleasant (in my view) seemed ridiculous to me. If you want to praise God and be thankful, why do you have to sit in an uncomfortable pew and listen to a monotone priest read from the Bible? My mom always tells me that going to church makes her feel good. I couldn’t understand how that could be. Until I started to practice yoga.

While driving by the hospital the other day, I noticed a few ladies outside that were holding signs that read “Please pray to end abortion”. Now, I am neither claiming to be Pro-Life or Pro-Choice (that’s a whole other blog post), but it struck me how amazing it was that these women had so much faith in what they believed that they were confident that simply praying would resolve what they saw as injustice in the world. I was jealous. I want to have that much faith in something.

I looked up the definition of faith. It read: "Complete trust or confidence in someone or something”. I’m starting to realize that it is not necessarily the church that my mom and my grandma love so much, but their faith in a higher being. In this case, God.

When I started to practice yoga regularly, I noticed a difference in myself. I felt good. I started to see things more clearly. When I’m practicing yoga, I feel that I can remove myself from any situation and have a good look at it, from a non-judgmental point-of-view. I feel that practicing yoga generates this energy inside of me and that I can use that energy in my life to make positive things happen. Yoga allows me to remember all of my blessings, even at the darkest times, and to know that life is good. Yoga has given me faith. In myself and the Universe. And God.

So, people who go to church must get the same feeling … ? Holy shit Mom, I think I’m praying.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Worry Not

(First of all, I’m sorry. I apologize to my loyal readers for not posting last week. Life has been crazy busy, and I just couldn’t find the time. My yoga practice suffered, and I even forgot to bath my kids. Yup, my mother-in-law decided to bath them because they actually looked dirty. How often do kids actually look dirty when you bath them? I guess 5 days without bathing will do that. OOPS! Moving on ….)

I am a worrier. It’s like my job. If you are not worried about something, it’s okay, ‘cause I will worry for you. I lay in bed at night and literally think of all the horrible things that could go wrong in my life. I also have a very vivid imagination. Thus, I have come up with some serious horrific images of bad things happening. Which worries me.

After 2 years of waiting for a job position for my husband to come open so we can move back home, it’s finally happening. We are moving back to our hometown and couldn’t be happier. But with any change, even ones made on purpose, comes the stress. Which is perfectly natural. It would be unnatural not to be stressed out a little bit during times like these.

I am a fucking stress ball though. I want to sell our house NOW. I want to have our new home ready for us NOW. Neither of those is going to happen.

Through my yoga, I have been trying to teach myself to think more positively and to learn to kinda go with the flow. While practicing my yoga, just as in life, I have come up against some obstacles. Some days my body decides it’s just not as flexible as usual, or I can’t do tree pose ‘properly’ and can’t figure out why, or my daughters just don’t want to leave me alone for a half hour.

I have been coming up against a lot of challenges in life lately too. Trying to sell our house quickly, being a “single” mom for the next month as my husband starts his new job, making plans to build a basement for our new home, and living with my parents/in-laws for the next three moths until our house is ready (bless their hearts for taking us in).

Yes, these changes are exciting. Yes, they are also stressful. I have decided to put my yoga to it. If I can address my life challenges the same way I face challenges in my yoga practice, I think I will be okay.

And so, I am working on acceptance, PATIENCE, an open heart and mind, perseverance, and positive thinking.

I WILL sell my house soon. I WILL enjoy planning our new home. I WILL be a gracious guest in our parents’ homes. I WILL learn to do Tree Pose.

Nothin’ to worry about.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dear Nate,

It’s been 1 year since your body came into this physical world, longer since your soul left. I didn’t know you were gone. Maybe I did. Maybe the pain I felt that day was you trying to tell me you were already gone. Maybe all the movement I felt from you the night before was you saying good-bye.
How can I miss someone I never met? You have changed me in ways that nobody else in my life has. How can someone that only existed inside of me have such a profound effect on who I am?
Sometimes I wonder if you were my brother’s spirit. I miss him too. Life would be better with him here. I always felt he and I were soul mates. Kindred spirits.
You were my baby. My child. I carried you. I felt you move. I heard your heartbeat. I remember.
There’s no way it could be a year already. It was just yesterday that I held you in a blanket and sang to you. We laid you in the ground with a teddy bear.
I didn’t know what to do. How do you bury your child? A child most people didn’t even know existed.
Your sisters are beautiful. Am I greedy to want you as well?
It’s been 1 year tomorrow. What am I supposed to do? Cry and scream? Lay in bed and let depression take over again? I want to, in a way. I want to.
Maybe I’ll kiss my girls instead. And make love to my husband. And be thankful for what you brought into my life. And miss you.
And maybe these whisky’s will make things go away for a little while.
And maybe someday I will meet you.
For now, I have to let you go.
I need to move on.
But I will always carry you. I carry you in my heart.
Baby boy.
Love, Mom

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Five Things Yoga Has Done For Me (that I didn’t expect)

When I first started practicing yoga, I expected to get out of it what most people do when they start a new exercise regime - a tight ass and a lower number on the scale. I could never have guessed that yoga would give me so much more. Here, what yoga has done for me:

1. A higher number on the scale. I expected to lose weight when I started practicing yoga regularly. As the numbers pretty much stayed the same, I wondered if I needed to work harder. Then the numbers started going up and I realized what was happening. Muscle weighs more than fat. As my “mommy tummy” shrank, my muscles were getting stronger, resulting in a slightly higher number on the weigh scale.

2. Peace of Mind. I really started to hit the mat when I realized how good I felt emotionally after a practice. I became aware that yoga was so much more than just exercise, but a state of mind. During stressful times, I am able to remember to not clench my jaw and to look at things from an outside perspective. I have even been able to embrace my spiritual side, something I’ve always struggled with.

3. Better Sex. Things were actually pretty good in that department in the first place (wink-wink nudge-nudge), but after practicing regularly, I realized how much better it could be. Yoga is known to increase libido, and my hips no longer want to seize up half-way through Reverse Cow-Girl. TMI (too much info)? TFB (too fucking bad). J

4. Faster Recovery. Being on immunosuppressant drugs, I can get sick pretty easily. But I haven’t been. My immunity is way up there and I haven’t needed as much sleep as I used to. If my kids keep me up all night for one reason or another, I’m actually okay the next day. I’m freakin’ tired, but I don’t have that “I’m gonna die” feeling like I used to.

5. A Better Curler. Okay, not really. I curled six games in a Ladies’ Bonspiel on the weekend. Let’s just say curling is not my forte. But I did have one random girl tell me I was quite flexible in my hip flexors. Which allowed me to have a nice delivery coming out of the hack. And then it was all down-hill from there, but the point is, yoga is making me better at other sports.

What has yoga done for you?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I’m Sexy and I Know It

Okay, I don’t think I would classify myself as sexy. Maybe if I tried really hard, but I think I would more likely fall under the categories ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’. Just like Maria from West Side Story, yes, I think I’m pretty. Partly maybe because “I am loved by a pretty wonderful boy”, but there is more to my (perhaps) puffed up ego than that. Confidence in and love for myself.

I have always been a confident person. I guess I was born that way, though my parents are both fairly confident people as well. I’ve never been too concerned with how I look. I hardly wear any make-up and really couldn’t tell you the names of the popular clothing brands. I can wear bright red sweat pants in public, and really be okay if someone gives me a sideways glance.

Don’t get me wrong. I have my insecurities just like anyone else. Like, really? Do my arms have to be that hairy? After I was done with breastfeeding my first daughter and my breasts looked like two fried eggs nailed to a wall, I had some serious issues to work through (luckily my husband likes eggs). But, throughout my life, I have been able to accept my body the way it is and even feel some love for it.

I mean, my body’s been through the ringer. Five pregnancies, two c-sections and Crohn’s disease. My daughters often ask what all the lines on my stomach are from. Though I want to say “You did this to me you little ……. !”, I like to just tell them I am a tiger who has earned her stripes (whoever wrote that is genius). But, fried eggs, stripes and all, I still am happy with the way that I look.

I don’t know what the secret is to being happy with your body. I think it’s a combination of love, acceptance and respect for yourself. It is a choice. Ya gotta love the skin you’re in. I choose to love my body. If you don’t love your body, then you need to ask yourself why you feel that way. And then something needs to change. Either your way of thinking or the way you live your life. Or both.

To me, as long as you exercise and eat well, your body should look exactly as it was meant to. Whether you are a size 4 or 14.